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blondeviolin

Daughter got "bit" by neighborhood cat

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This is a cat we've seen in our neighborhood before so its home is likely close to ours. It looks very much like a tiny scrape, but did break the skin. My plan is to take her to the doctor in the morning while my husband finds the cat's owner by probably going door-to-door. From there, should we involve animal control?

 

To be honest, it's my daughter's fault. We told her not to touch the cat and have always taught our children they should not touch strange animals unless they've asked the owner. What can I say, though? She's four and four-year-olds are impulsive...

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If the cat's shots are up to date, I absolutely would not involve animal control.

I'm assuming you would require written proof? Yes? I'd really rather not involve animal control.

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I'm assuming you would require written proof? Yes? I'd really rather not involve animal control.

Really, the only shot I would really be concerned about is the rabies shot.  In our area, doctors give a rabies certificate and a collar tag (which I do not put on my cat because he loses his collar), so yes, I would ask to see that.  

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So long as the cat has it's rabies shot, I would just clean the wound well and not involve animal control. If you touch strange cats, being bitten or scratched it highly likely. Cats are temperamental. Perhaps your daughter will now remember not to touch strange cats.

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Unless the cat was a feral and aggressive, I would tell my kids to just clean it off and to leave the cat alone. I wouldn't involve animal control. I've had hundreds of scratches and bites. Rabies is ridiculously rare and in that circumstance, it wouldn't even cross my mind.

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Unless the cat was a feral and aggressive, I would tell my kids to just clean it off and to leave the cat alone. I wouldn't involve animal control. I've had hundreds of scratches and bites. Rabies is ridiculously rare and in that circumstance, it wouldn't even cross my mind.

 

:iagree: and will even add that it wouldn't cross my mind to go to the doctor for such a thing.

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I'd wash the scrape and get on with my life.  If I called animal control to haul off the animal every time my dd tried to snuggle a neighborhood pet and got scraped or lightly nipped, the five block radius around my house would be utterly devoid of life. :p

 

We have cats that like to lay in the yard and sun themselves, and if someone knocked on my door and said, "Ohmygosh, my kid tried to love your cat and it bit/scratched her!" I'd be like, "Um, yes.  It's a cat.  Outside.  What were you expecting?"  

 

Please forgive any typos.  One of the cats in question just rolled off the back of the recliner and onto my head, and is now happily sitting there.  It's like he knows I'm talking about him. :p

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:iagree: and will even add that it wouldn't cross my mind to go to the doctor for such a thing.

 

Lol, I missed that part.  

 

Op, just out of curiosity, what are you expecting the doctor to do?

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Unless the cat was a feral and aggressive, I would tell my kids to just clean it off and to leave the cat alone. I wouldn't involve animal control. I've had hundreds of scratches and bites. Rabies is ridiculously rare and in that circumstance, it wouldn't even cross my mind.

 

 

:iagree: and will even add that it wouldn't cross my mind to go to the doctor for such a thing.

:iagree:   Wash it, throw some antibacterial cream on it, and move on.  Doctor and animal control not required.

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:iagree: and will even add that it wouldn't cross my mind to go to the doctor for such a thing.

I'm not too worried. We'll find the owner because I would like to cover all of my bases and there have been feline rabies cases reported in our county.

 

Typically I wouldn't take her to the doctor, but this year my husband was hospitalized because of a sore that turned sour quickly due to MRSA. I may be a bit PTSDed from that, but I'd like to cover my bases. (I spoke with the on-call doc and was pretty sure we were fine doing some neosporin and a band-aid. The on-call doc said we should go to the ER. :001_huh: Uh, pass. She'll just see the regular pedi in the AM.). I'm also hoping she'll listen to the doc about not touching strange animals better than she did Mom.

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And the cat was aggressive, but probably more because a strange child was touching him. He stalks my cat in the neighborhood sometimes. ;)

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Well considering that I see patients when cat bites can and do get infected (I work in pharmacy) I would keep a close eye on it and at ANY sign of increased redness, take  her in ASAP.  If you don't take her in, slather it and the surrounding area in OTC bacterial ointment (neo or poly-sporin) and keep it covered with a bandaid.  Reapply 4x daily until healed. 

 

My coworked just spend 4 days in the hospital from a cat bite.  12 hours from the bite he was in the ER getting admitted. His little fluffy got scared during a move....and in return he  got  IV antibiotics and 4 days inpatient....all from a 4 puncture wounds (two bites) from his own immunized cat.  

 

 

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cat bites are the worst as far as risk of infection.  If it is tiny and you find the owners to see proof of up to date shots then make sure you clean it well etc.  When my dd6 was 2 she was attacked by a cat that came onto our lawn and went crazy on her (she was holding one of our kittens).  She had never had shots since 2 months old and it was a big decision to get her done as a result of that attack.  She had to have a regular tetanus shot plus a globulin something or rather with a huge needle in her leg.  She had to go back to the dr every 3 days to have her bites checked etc (she still has scars on her arm though the bites and scratches on her neck didn't leave any).  The hospital had to report it and animal control locked the cat up for 10 days quarantine etc.  I had nothing to do with any of that, it was automatic after the er worked on her.  It was not a fun time.  The dr said when it comes to animal bites cat bites get infected way more than any other ones they deal with

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I'm not too worried. We'll find the owner because I would like to cover all of my bases and there have been feline rabies cases reported in our county.

Typically I wouldn't take her to the doctor, but this year my husband was hospitalized because of a sore that turned sour quickly due to MRSA. I may be a bit PTSDed from that, but I'd like to cover my bases. (I spoke with the on-call doc and was pretty sure we were fine doing some neosporin and a band-aid. The on-call doc said we should go to the ER. :001_huh: Uh, pass. She'll just see the regular pedi in the AM.). I'm also hoping she'll listen to the doc about not touching strange animals better than she did Mom.

If you don't "know" the cat very well and there have been recent cases of feline rabies in your area, I understand your concern, and under those circumstances, I probably wouldn't take any chances, either. Better safe than sorry. I only know of one person who has taken rabies shots within the past few years, and apparently, the shots aren't that bad. Hopefully, you'll find out that the cat is immunized and you won't have to deal with anything like that, though.

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Make sure her tetanus shots are up to date, and then don't worry about it.  We have never vaxed for rabies from a domestic cat bite in our office.  Ever.  Or for a feral cat bite, for that matter.  As long as you cleaned the wound well, and watch for signs of infection, she'll be fine.  The doctor will not do anything for it.  A tiny scrape will be healed over by morning. 

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I'm not too worried. We'll find the owner because I would like to cover all of my bases and there have been feline rabies cases reported in our county.

 

Typically I wouldn't take her to the doctor, but this year my husband was hospitalized because of a sore that turned sour quickly due to MRSA. I may be a bit PTSDed from that, but I'd like to cover my bases. (I spoke with the on-call doc and was pretty sure we were fine doing some neosporin and a band-aid. The on-call doc said we should go to the ER. :001_huh: Uh, pass. She'll just see the regular pedi in the AM.). I'm also hoping she'll listen to the doc about not touching strange animals better than she did Mom.

 

That makes sense. I can understand. I worked in a cat exclusive veterinary practice for years. One of my co-workers had a cat chomp her during a grooming and within a half hour, her hand looked like a baseball mitt. Cat bites can be quite bad.

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Former vet tech here. Cat bites are one of the worst bites in terms of infection but a dr visit is probably not necessary unless signs of infection appear. Best bet is to clean it well and keep it clean. If cat isn't vaccinated then have it quarantined per animal controls guidelines and consult dr about if dd needs any shots

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I was bit by a feral kitten (my fault) and went to ER in part because I'm allergic to the DT vaccine as well as some antibiotics. I had tiny puncture wounds they couldn't even see in ER, yet they took it very seriously as they'd all seen such serious infections from cat bites before. 

 

All bites automatically get reported to the county health department and animal control. They couldn't find/catch the kitten and the case was referred to the state health department for a decision on whether I'd need the rabies vaccine or not. There had been no cases of feline rabies in my area and few known instances of rabies in the calendar year so they didn't recommend it.

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If you take her to the doctor, they're required to notify the health department. The cat we adopted a couple of years ago bit my mother and even with shot records, we had to have home visits to monitor him.

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I agree with most of the others here. Clean the bite, watch it closely for signs of infections, and use this as a teaching moment for your dd. My dd had a few years there where she got bitten or nibbled by practically every animal she touched. I think she was a bit overly friendly and not very quick to notice the signs the animal was giving that either they were done with the interaction or that they wanted to play a bit harder. We never had anything become a problem.

 

However, a friend of ours from church got a bad bite from her family cat. It went deep into her thumb joint. It quickly became infected and required IV antibiotics, several other medications, a couple of hospitalizations, and at one point they were concerned that she might even lose her hand! Cat bites can become very infected, fairly quickly. The bacteria from inside the cat's mouth got inside the joint capsule (where it is difficult to clean and medicate), things went bad very quickly.

 

So if it seems like just a surface bite, in a fleshy part of her arm or whatever, with no major signs of redness, swelling, heat or pain, then I would just clean it up and not worry. However, I would take her in to the Dr. or ER the minute any signs of infection began to show or if the bite is in the area of a joint.

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Given how exceptionally nasty rabies is, I would verify that the cat is immunized. Beyond that I wouldn't worry unless you see signs of infection--just clean well and apply antibiotic ointment.

 

This thread has reminded me that my cats are due for their immunizations.

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DD got bit by our cat (who was spooked by dry lightening, which doesn't happen very often around here). The dr gave her antibiotics and said they always give antibiotics for any animal bites. 

 

I don't know if he reported it or not but animal control never showed up at our house.

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In this case it would be a he said/she said as far as the cat bite goes so I'm not sure animal control would do anything about it (they can simply say it wasn't their cat).  

 

I would clean it well and watch for infection.  If you know there are cases of feline rabies in your area I would ask the owners if it is vaxed if you can be 100% sure which cat it was and where it lives.

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Were you or your dh able to find the cat's owner yet? It might be difficult on a weekday, because the owner may be at work. Hopefully, one of the neighbors will be able to point you in the right direction.

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Were you or your dh able to find the cat's owner yet? It might be difficult on a weekday, because the owner may be at work. Hopefully, one of the neighbors will be able to point you in the right direction.

My husband went out and made a half-hearted effort. I think he's planning on going back out again in a bit. He has description issues. He says it was a caramel cat, lady says she has a tiger cat. I'm fairly certain the cat that bit her was light orange...and when someone says caramel, I picture tannish...

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Tiger would be dark brown stripes.

Unless you're my former neighbor, who had always said she had a "tiger cat"... but he looked exactly like Morris the cat from the old 9 Lives commercials! :D I think many people refer to any cat with stripes as being a tiger cat. (Stripey orange cats are more Tigger than tiger, but that's just my opinion. ;))

 

It's hard for a lot of people to describe fur colors, especially on a tabby cat.

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Cat Scratch Fever is something to watch for. We knew a boy who had this and it took his Dr. a very long time to figure it out.

The family actually thought he had leukemia. It was very scary.

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Cat Scratch Fever is something to watch for. We knew a boy who had this and it took his Dr. a very long time to figure it out.

The family actually thought he had leukemia. It was very scary.

 

Yep, I had this.  Very rare, but scary if it happens.  The lymph node in my neck swelled up like I had mumps.  Non-Hodgkins lymphoma was on the possible checklist.  Even with antibiotics the lymph node took about 3 months to go away.

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My best friend got nipped on the meaty part between thumb and index finger by her mother's indoor, vaccinated cat. She cleaned it, antibacterial goo'ed it, etc., and wound up with a serious infection. She needed to get the wound drained several times and was on antibiotics for weeks.

 

Nothing happened to her parents' kitty. No follow ups from animal control or anything like that. This was Christmas 2011, not back in the Dark Ages or anything. ;)

 

Hope your DD is fine and dandy, but I think you're doing the right thing by taking it seriously.

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Your poor daughter :grouphug: .  I hope she is okay.

 

 

Finding the cat owner might not be easy.  If you see it again, snap a picture to help identify it. 

 

 

If I were the owner, I would offer to pay your dd's medical and apologize profusely; and I'd try to keep my kitty indoors.

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So, I talked with the health department because there are reported cases of feline rabies in our area. The epedimiologist recommended putting food out to see if I can lure the cat back. She said try to observe the cat and if he's not dead in ten days, he's definitely fine. She also informed me that in order for a bite to be defined as having "broken the skin," they look for a cut AND bleeding. This was a scrape that did not bleed, so the risk is crazy low. She said to watch out for the cat, but she wouldn't be concerned about rabies or anything else if we cannot verify the animal has been vaccinated.

 

So, in short, we'll keep an eye out for the kitty, but not worry much past that.

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So, I talked with the health department because there are reported cases of feline rabies in our area. The epedimiologist recommended putting food out to see if I can lure the cat back. She said try to observe the cat and if he's not dead in ten days, he's definitely fine. She also informed me that in order for a bite to be defined as having "broken the skin," they look for a cut AND bleeding. This was a scrape that did not bleed, so the risk is crazy low. She said to watch out for the cat, but she wouldn't be concerned about rabies or anything else if we cannot verify the animal has been vaccinated.

 

So, in short, we'll keep an eye out for the kitty, but not worry much past that.

Thanks for posting the update -- I'm glad you got the info you needed, so you don't have to worry any more.

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